Friday, 20 February 2015

Photograph 3 (and second degree burns!)

I'm sitting in front of the television nursing a horrible burn on my left thumb and forefinger. I'm pleased to report that the injury was received in the line of duty. I've been suffering for my art...

I've been in Aylesbury all day under a sunny sky filled with red kites. What is it about that bit of Buckinghamshire which seems to attract that particular bird? They fly above the roads and the canals, soaring on the thermals like glorious angels with forked tales.

I was in Aylesbury to see Raily, Hilary and the kids, all of whom were great company. We had a lovely walk along the canal and down to the playing fields. We watched a barge negotiating a lock. The air was ripe with the smell of wood smoke. A lot of canal boats have little wood burners, and little ringlets of smoke were drifting past in the boats' wakes. We ate butternut squash soup for lunch and a fabulous Quorn pie with peas for tea.

The kids crafted at the table. Will asked a series of incredibly perceptive questions about equality and wanted to talk to me about the Great Depression.

The highlight of the day was almost certainly taking Hilary's portrait for the Pepys Motet album cover. Hilary sang one of the top sop parts in the motet, and because it's very unlikely I'll see her in London for a while, I figured I might as well photograph her today. I thought it would be great to surround the photograph with fire. The fourth movement of the motet is dedicated entirely to the Great Fire of London, so I figured if I couldn't take advantage of an epic London location, I could at least evoke something Pepysian.

It was all hands on deck. We set up an astonishing studio in the back garden with lanterns and mirrors and a big steel bowl of fire. We burned Raily's Christmas tree which had been chopped up and stuffed in the garage.

The photos came out brilliantly. I was well chuffed, but sadly, whilst repositioning the fire bowl, I managed to catastrophically burn myself! It didn't hurt initially, which is probably a bad sign, but as I drove home, the sickening throbbing began. I'll be fine. I'm dosed up on pain killers and covered in lavender oil but everything feels a little tight. The mother of all blisters are forming!

I came home and Nathan showed me the thirty second YouTube trailer for the screening of Our Gay Wedding the Musical in Australia. It's rather sweet, I think, and the voice over calls it "the wedding of the decade" which I don't mind owning! Let's hope its screening convinces the Aussie prime minister to allow his LGBT people to get married. I've always felt that Australia is one of those places in the world you'd expect to have full equality, and feel it's rather shameful that they don't. A nation without full equal marriage rights seems, I dunno, a bit backward, really. I mean, which club would you rather be in? One with Russia, Nigeria, India and Sri Lanka or one with Canada, most of Western Europe, South Africa and much of Latin America?

My dream is to actually work in Australia. Perhaps I should do some hustling down under!

Oh yes. The link for the wedding film is this...


  1. Thank you Ben and Nathan for sharing you precious love with the world. I laughed, and cried and sang along with you ...Love is everyone under the sun!. With love from Nicola, Perth, Western Australia

  2. Thank you Nicola. Love is indeed everyone under the sun! Love backatcha from a wintry UK!